How does government regulation shape residents' green consumption behavior? A multi-agent simulation considering environmental values and social interaction

J Environ Manage. 2023 Apr 1:331:117231. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.117231. Epub 2023 Jan 10.


Green consumption is an inevitable choice to alleviate environmental pressure and promote sustainable development. Residents' green consumption behavior decisions are influenced by a combination of external government regulation and internal consumer psychological factors. This study incorporated regret theory and environmental values into a multi-agent model to simulate residents' green consumption behavior under various government regulation scenarios. The results show that in the absence of government regulation, residents have little motivation to actively choose green consumption. In terms of a single policy, government subsidy is more conducive to promoting green consumption behavior than government penalty, and the evolutionary trend of group decision making becomes more stable with increased policy intensity. However, neither of the two single regulatory policies can fully promote residents' environmentally conscious consumption decisions. Therefore, a combination of "carrots" (government subsidy) and "sticks" (government penalty) is required to motivate a significant increase in the number of residents who choose green consumption behavior. In addition, the intensity of social interaction between residents is found to influence the stability of behavioral evolution, with higher intensity (i.e., more neighbors) resulting in greater fluctuations in group behavior but driving more residents toward green consumption. These findings can provide a theoretical reference for policy formulation of green consumption behavior.

Keywords: Environmental values; Government regulation; Green consumption behavior; Multi-agent simulation; Regret theory; Social interaction.

MeSH terms

  • China
  • Decision Making
  • Government
  • Government Regulation*
  • Motivation
  • Social Interaction*
  • Sustainable Development